The classic image of Australia as a new and young country of opportunity and promise is an illusion. We are not a young country. We have history, languages, cultures, lore and traditions going back tens of millennia. We live in diverse places across the continent which historically recognised hundreds of First Nations. We, as Australians should all be proud to have a direct lineage to the world’s oldest, continuous culture and civilisation. We are a country whose very earth and land formation speak to deep time, history, mythology and dreaming. What we can agree on is that we are a country of opportunity.
This year presents us all as Australians with a historic generational decision. It can either put us as a nation on a path that reconciles our history and the injustices inflicted on our First Nations Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander brothers and sisters or leaves us under the dark shadow of colonisation.
There is no doubt that for some such a decision is anathema to what they were brought up to believe and what constitutes the Australian identity. For them the journey to a yes vote in the upcoming referendum will not be an easy one.
However, for others who have have had the privilege of hearing the voices of our First Nations Elders, leaders and peers speak to their truth, they should be at an important point of recognition and decision making. A point where a decision by a generation will forge a new beginning and an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past.
The Edmund Rice Centre stands ready to support the together YES campaign for recognition of our First Nations peoples in our Constitution. We also stand ready to support the establishment of a Voice to Parliament, a mechanism for truth telling, treaty and the many other important recommendations of the Uluru Statement of the Heart which we as a Centre support the full implementation of without compromise. We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians and Owners of Country we share and agree that sovereignty was never ceded.
To this end we provide the following to help our friends and supporters take this journey with us as we head towards a new beginning: